Faculty & Professional Learning Communities

Faculty & Professional Learning Communities (FPLCs) were initially funded through a generous grant from the Davis Educational Foundation established by Stanton and Emily Davis after Mr. Davis' retirement as chairman of Shaw's Supermarket, Inc. and are currently supported by the University through the CTSE.

What is an FPLC?

FPLCs are cross-disciplinary groups of 5-8 faculty, staff, and administrators who meet throughout the academic year to share their experiences, learn from one another, and explore the literature on the latest pedagogical and curricular trends. Each FPLC is facilitated by two people, usually a faculty member and an administrator/staff member. FPLCs also concentrate on the social aspects of building community; off-campus retreats and conferences include times for fun, and some gatherings during the year will also include family and guests. The FPLCs have a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity that are tied to the institutional strategic plan.

The FPLCs at Suffolk are topic-based. Topic-based FPLCs have a curriculum designed to address a special campus teaching and learning need, issue, or opportunity. These FPLCs provide opportunities for learning across all faculty ranks and cohorts and make appropriate professional staff members available to focus on a specific theme.

Past topics have included

  • Hybrid Teaching & Learning
  • Multicultural Competencies
  • Innovative & Entrepreneurial Thinking
  • Experiential Learning, Service Learning
  • Internationalization, and Gameful Learning
  • Integrative Learning
  • Photovoice in Service Learning
  • Documentation in Experiential Learning

After forming, each FPLC will collaboratively identify a measurable outcome tied to their group's topic that they will work to achieve throughout the year-long community. Each FPLC will also collaboratively decide on their yearly budget allocation. Following a semester of reading and scholarly engagement (fall), each FPLC participant will be expected to propose (through an IRB application) and implement a pedagogical or curricular change in their classroom based on the theme of their FPLC in the spring semester.

Possible examples of outcomes include

  • Incorporation and evaluation of hybrid learning activities
  • Implementation and assessment of new diversity-based curricula
  • Measurement of innovative thinking through a new survey tool


Facilitator Responsibilities

  • Choose a topic for your FPLC and propose it with your facilitator application to CTSE
  • Attend a Facilitator Retreat in spring semester
  • Organize community meetings (including room reservation, food ordering, etc.)
  • Maintain all FPLC receipts to be submitted to CTSE and keep track of the community’s budget
  • Keep FPLC in communication via email or other methods throughout the school year
  • Help FPLC set outcomes for the year and help individuals set outcomes for their classroom research projects
  • Attend CTSE FPLC events such as assessment training and the spring celebration
  • Attend facilitator check-ins twice each semester with CTSE staff
  • Assist your FPLC with final presentation poster for the spring celebration event

Co-facilitators of FPLCs

  • Coordinate group members to meet every three weeks throughout the fall and spring semesters
  • Help group members decide the best ways to use their FPLC budget
  • Support the design of individual classroom research projects including the submission of IRB proposals

Facilitators also meet regularly with CTSE staff.

Participant Responsibilities:
  • Attend all FPLC meetings
  • Respond in a timely manner to emails and communications
  • Set individual outcomes and design a classroom research project to be completed in spring semester of your FPLC year
  • Draft and submit an IRB proposal for your classroom research project at the end of fall semester of your FPLC year
  • Attend CTSE FPLC events such as the assessment training (fall semester) and the final celebration (spring semester)
  • Prepare a final presentation poster for the spring celebration event
  • Respond in a timely manner to periodic surveys from CTSE regarding your FPLC experience

How do I apply?

There are two ways to be part of a Faculty and Professional Learning Community (FPLC):

  1. As a facilitator (see monthly CTSE newsletter for details or email us)
  2. As a participant (see monthly CTSE newsletter for details or email us

Facilitator Materials

Binder Materials

Ice Breakers [PDF]
What is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) in Higher Education? [PDF]  
The Role of the Facilitator [PDF] 
Choosing the Right Activity [PDF]

Participant Materials 

Participant Summer Checklist [PDF]
Sample Budgets [PDF]
Understand Causes of Outcomes and Impacts by Jane Davidson (recorded webinar)
Research Methods for SoTL [PDF]
FPLC Student Assessment Workbook [PDF] - from Paula Quinn's workshop - SoTL ("Scholarship of Teaching and Learning")

Focus Course Projects

As part of your participation in the FPLC program, you will choose a "focus course" for spring semester for which you will design a teaching and learning project. Follow these steps to begin your project.

Project Examples

Project Example # 1:

A Comparison of Methods Aimed at Enhancing Student Engagement in an ECR Course
by Susan Orsillo

Application for IRB Exemption [PDF]
Research Protocol [PDF]
Consent Documentation [PDF]

Project Example # 2:

Online Learning Modules for Introductory Media Large Lecture Course
by Nina Huntemann

Application for IRB Exemption [PDF]
Research Protocol [PDF]
Consent Document [PDF]
Consent Script [PDF] 

FPLC Groups

2017-2018 FPLC Groups

  • Facilitating Group Learning
  • Fostering Civic Learning, Engagement & Civil Discourse
  • Supporting Faculty in Service Learning
  • Interdisciplinary Collaboration & Experiential Team Work

2016-2017 FPLC Groups

  • Integrative Learning
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Service Learning

2015-2016 FPLC Groups

  • Integrative Learning
  • Photo Voice Service Learning
  • Documentation in Experiential & Service Learning

2014-2015 FPLC Groups

  • Experiential Learning
  • Service Learning
  • Internationalization
  • Gameful Learning

2013-2014 FPLC Groups

  • Hybrid Teaching & Learning I
  • Hybrid Teaching & Learning II
  • Multicultural Competencies
  • Innovative & Entrepreneurial Thinking